User profiles in Windows


There are 3 main user profiles in Windows

Local profile

A Local profile is a default user profile. Whenever a user login to a server or client a folder is created and the changes he makes and the files he creates or copies will be stored permanently.

Roaming profile

In a Roaming profile, his profile is stored centrally (in a server). Wherever he logs in, his profile is transferred to the server.

Advantages:

Disk space is usage is less.

Disadvantages:

User login time would increase depending on the size of the profile and the distance between the profile storing server and login server.

Mandatory profile

In a Mandatory profile, user’s changes on the server will be removed upon logoff. For example, if a user changes the background of a server, saves some files in the desktop etc. these changes will be removed upon logoff. A Mandatory profile can be achieved for a user by renaming NTUser.DAT to NTUser.man. NTUser.dat is a registry hive file. A Hive is a logical group of keys, Sub-keys and values in Registry.

From Microsoft:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb776895%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

User profiles become mandatory profiles when the administrator renames the NTuser.dat file (the registry hive) on the server to NTuser.man. The .man extension causes the user profile to be a read-only profile.

Super Mandatory Profile

User profiles become super-mandatory when the folder name of the profile path ends in .man; for example, \\server\share\mandatoryprofile.man\.

Super-mandatory user profiles are similar to normal mandatory profiles, with the exception that users who have super-mandatory profiles cannot log on when the server that stores the mandatory profile is unavailable. Users with normal mandatory profiles can log on with the locally cached copy of the mandatory profile.

Only system administrators can make changes to mandatory user profiles.

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